Getting Started with Your GenealogyFamilySearch.org has several resource guides to help you to get started on your genealogy:
Free Genealogy Software
The LDS Church offers free genealogy software that you can use as you do your genealogy research. It is called Personal Ancestral File (PAF) and is one of the best software programs for genealogy. It helps users organize their family history records. It can produce, either on screen or on paper, family histories, pedigree charts, family group records, and other reports to help users in their search for missing ancestors.
Personal Ancestral File can be downloaded for free from the Family Search website.
There is an additional software called Personal Ancestral File Companion that is available for a low price that will help you in preparing and printing various genealogical reports.
Family History Centers
The Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the largest genealogical library in the world. You can see what records are available in the Family History Library Catalog.
Many of the materials from the Family History Library can be sent to one of the 4,500 local Family History Centers found throughout the world. Copies of microfilms and microfiche can be ordered for a fee. Fees for microfilm copies begin at $7.50 per film. The books in the collection are not circulated, but the Family History Library provides suggestions for locating a book elsewhere.
There is an affordable service that provides Family History Library Lookups (GenealogyLookup.com) if you would like someone to look up records for you at the Family History Library. It is not affiliated with the Family History Library in any way.
The Church has more than 4,500 family history centers throughout the world. Most of the microfilm and microfiche records that the Church owns can be ordered and viewed at local family history centers. There are also volunteers available to help you and many centers offer training classes and additional published reference sources. The centers can be used for no charge. You don't have to be a member of the LDS Church in order to use these resources.
- A free wiki with over 61,000 articles on many genealogical topics including record types, record sources, and places.
- Forms you can use in doing your research
- Letter writing guides for writing letters in other languages if you don't speak a language and seek information in that language
- Maps for many countries and time periods to aid in finding an geographic location
- Reference documents for learning about the history of different countries and states to aid in research
- Research outlines for many countries and for every state in the United States that give information on the best sources available for doing research in that area
- Step by step guides for specific information about how to do different kinds of research, such as census records or church records
- Genealogical word lists for help in reading records in a language that you are not fluent in
- Where to Write for Vital Records --a guide to writing for vital records in the United States
- Jewish Genealogy
- Preparing a Family History
- Tracing Immigrant Origins
- Tracing LDS Families
- US Military Records
- Hiring a Professional Genealogist
- How to Recognize Your Canadian Ancestor
- How to Recognize Your United States Ancestor
- Organizing Your Paper Files
- Organizing Your Genealogy Using Computers
Family Search Indexing
If you have a little bit of spare time, as little as 30 minutes a week, you can volunteer for a wonderful project called Family Search Indexing. They are currently indexing many records so that they will be available to people worldwide for free through FamilySearch.org. To see what records have been indexed so far go to the